Corn School: Harvest Quickly to Fend off Steep Downgrades

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Ontario’s corn crop is showing high vomitoxin levels and growers are being urged to harvest as quickly as possible to preserve corn quality.

Last week, the OMAFRA Field Crops team revealed that 26% of the samples taken in its annual vomitoxin survey had DON concentrations of 2.0 ppm or greater. At these levels, vomitoxin produced by gibberella and fusarium ear moulds can be disruptive when fed to livestock, particularly hogs. The infection rate appears to be highest in the southwestern portion of the province.

In this episode of Corn School, Real Agriculture resident agronomist Peter Johnson takes a close look at gibberella and fusarium infected corn and explains how, under dry 2016 Ontario growing conditions, infection rates have reached levels not seen since 2011.

Johnson urges growers to harvest as quickly as possible. “Nothing good happens to corn after 30% moisture anyway, so get in the field, get it harvested and get it dried,” says Johnson. “Let’s keep the quality in the corn crop. Don’t let it go south.”

Johnson also talks about how corn producers, especially livestock farmers, can protect the quality of future corn crops. “If you have to have clean corn, you have to look at spraying a fusarium fungicide just like we do in wheat,” he says. Optimum timing would be at silking.

Click here for more Corn School episodes, including this one on breeding for gibberella resistance.

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